Game 47 Bristol Rovers V Exeter City 23rd April 2016

Or: The Queen isn’t the only one to have more than one birthday.

This version has been delayed by my membership of Noema-Barnetts barmy army this afternoon. He and Krusty put Worcestershire to the sword after tea and while Marshall scored his nineteenth century for Gloucestershire, Kieran neared his first.

So back to yesterday.

Pre-Match Pubs

Rose was away changing the world this weekend. I am pretty proud of what she does but that’s another story. Left to my own imagination I could only think of one alternative to my normal day and that was to start earlier and incorporate breakfast with beer. So it was that I was second to arrive at the……

King Street Brewhouse.

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Bob arrived minutes before me at around 20 to 11. Next in was Ronnie at 6 minutes late. Then came Marcus. This was to be a different lunch session. We four booked the breakfast and it was as different as one might expect. It was good but, at £7.95 a pop, not something to have on a regular basis. We were soon joined by Lord Powell who was in full caring mode. He had collected Chris Scargill from the station. We never did find out why he did so as Chris was perfectly able to walk from his overnight hotel to the pub especially one that has the name of the street in the title. Tim, however, is a different kettle of fish, He arrived, waved at us through the window, walked around the corner into Queen Charlotte Street before retracing his steps, hoping no doubt that we hadn’t noticed, to the nearby obvious entrance door. Last in was Mumbles. We had a team, a party, a posse, a gang, of beer hunters. As Andy arrived we left for the next pub. For the record the beers sampled were Arbor the Devil Made me Brew it Stout (4) and Electric Bear Bear Wit (6) I should explain that Chris is also a Bromley fan. He had travelled for a rare appearance as a Gashead at home because it was the Lord Powell’s birthday bash later in the day. This was the case of others who were later to assemble at the ground. Marcus was also joining the revelries but his afternoon would be of the ground hopping variety. Southmead C.S. Athletic were taking on Bradwell Amateurs in the Gloucestershire County League. The Lord and Chris were first to leave as they wanted to be one of the first hundred to get a free promotional pint in the FRNV. This is not our favourite in King Street so we instead toddled on to:-

Beer Emporium

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It had been a while since we had been here but the beer choice stood up to critical scrutiny as being wide ranging and interesting. The Untapped Triple S (5) was my choice as we settled to the second vault with a table big enough for our mob of six. This was a quick stop so we soon headed on to ….

Small Bar

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Burning Sky Plateau (6) was a popular choice and we were able again to find a table for us all. Conversation of course included all the usual topics. Today’s game (Nervous, and a must win), next week’s trip (a 6.15 train for them, a weekend away for us), County League football (Thornbury Town), Ground hopping (or ticking by the Good Lord), all found their five minutes of debate.

Taxi for 6 to Drapers Arms

They went in for a quickie. I knew not to bother and went in to the game. Luckily I met up with old mate Chris, aka (Colonel Wildtrousers II), who was also in the posh seats. Carol and Damon were again in the even posher seats upstairs so he was able to join me in the second half and we could relive old times mulling over gas games home and away. Due to a still settling breakfast the pasty was avoided and Bovril replaced by a tea.

Bristol Rovers 3 Exeter City 1; Attendance 10,254 (893 Grecians)

It was back to normal with a bang as we scored relatively early, absorbed something of a revival after half time and finished strongly with their keeper keeping the score down. Ollie Clarke played a key role in getting control back in the second half. Paul Bodin offered enough unpredictability to suggest they should never leave him alone. Exeter appeared to target Tom Lockyer for some roughing up, nothing new of late. Matty T scored another after a Lines tackle and Clarke pass. (Shall I say that again, a Lines tackle and a Clarke pass?)  In fact all three goals were pretty pleasing in their execution. Reading the post-match reports the terrace experts appeared to miss the ricket by Mark McCrystal that led to their goal. In all honesty I never really felt their pretty passing would lead to an equaliser.

Entertainment Value (Out of 5): 4

Man of the Match:  Billy Bodin

Post-match

We met as usual in the bar. Plymouth had lost at home and we were up to fourth. One point behind Oxford and two off Accrington. There could have been a roll call of long lost Gasheads arriving for Lord Powell frolics. It was going to kick off around 5.30, time enough for a quickie in the:-

Drapers Arms

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Ronnie experienced the frustration of going to the bar while others went to chat. I of course went straight to the bar and ordered my Box steam Porter (5) and retreated to CAMRA corner for a spare seat. A good five minutes later the round was completed and one by one they joined me at the front of the room. I am coming to the opinion that it might be a good option on match days to remove the tables. Keep seating around the wall and stools for the central aisle but create some space so that people can actually get to the bar and buy stuff.

Next up we returned to the bar for a final celebration of Lord Powell’s birthday. Nigh on a month after his actual birthday we had been summoned to listen to his favourite local band and we dutifully filed into the bar that was in full post-match programme.

Bristol Rovers Supporters Club Bar.

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I ordered five pints of Butcombe Bitter (3) and a cider (for Bob) and then found five friends to drink them. It seemed the easiest way to do things as it was a tad busy and happy in Gashead la-a land. La-la was to renditions of Wurzels stuff by Mr Bloggs Band. They were just filling in time but the tone was set. Next came what is apparently a usual highlights package of the game. I retired to the quieter bar to watch and drink in some form of peace. Then we gathered to listen to the full band set. Conversation was difficult, so too was song recognition until any chorus was tried. They certainly had a range of music. Benny Hill, Led Zeppelin and the Sex Pistols all featured in this tribute set. Bob stole the show with his tribute to the iconic look created by the lord. Complete with authentic list, plastic bag and hat he became his long lost twin brother for a while. By now I had transmuted to Ashton Cider drinker, things were going off the rails and a bus home was looking my best option.

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The No. 76 bus made the 26 minute journey in 18. I had 20 minutes to wait for the 625 that arrived and left five minutes early. Within the hour I was sat in my living room looking at the forums for comment on the game. We had won, fans were obviously celebrating and the forum had nothing critical today so was virtually silent.

Pub of the day: King Street Beer House

Beer of the day: Electric Bear Bear Wit

Next up: York City A Saturday 30th April 2016

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